EMC has announced that it has joined the OpenStack Foundation. Chuck Hollis, the VP of Global Marketing CTO with EMC explained why in a blog post today.

EMC, OpenStack Implications 

Before looking at the blog post, let’s have a look at what it means. The first to say is that EMC announcing that is joining OpenStack now is a little bit of a foregone conclusion as VMWare, which is mainly owned by EMC, has been part of it since September.

September’s move from VMWare was, in fact, a little bit of surprise as its status as a developer of virtualization and cloud technology made it a competitor to the open source nature of OpenStack. That, however, was resolved when VMWare bought Nicira, a big contributor to OpenStack, making VMWare a supporter and dragging EMC into the fold this week.

OpenStack Foundation

EMC is starting off gently, though, and has joined OpenStack as a corporate-level member -- as opposed to VMWare which has gold membership, the highest level you can get. That may change in the future as both OpenStack and EMC mature in this space.

The news appeared on Hollis’ blog late yesterday who outlined in some detail why EMC has made the move.

OpenStack was launched three years ago to counter Amazon Web Services and has, in the intervening period managed to attract most of the big players in the field. In fact, until yesterday when EMC joined,  the only noteworthy companies that hadn’t joined up were EMC, Microsoft and Amazon.

EMC, Cloud Stack Market

So why now? Firstly, by a cloud stack he says he is talking about an integrated suite of software capabilities that perform all the necessary functions for the smooth running of a cloud, including things like provisioning and monitoring. In fact he goes so far as to suggest that if you don’t have a stack, you won’t have a cloud.

From an industry perspective, the best in the business has been and is WMWare, which is best at delivering production level ‘cloud stack’ abilities, he says. However, all markets need choices and the cloud market is no exception. Microsoft, he generously concedes, has been doing well recently, building its abilities around Azure and Hyper-V. In fact, it has been doing so well, that it is really beginning to pick up traction in the business space.

EMC has been working with Microsoft to integrate its capabilities into Microsoft’s cloud stack, but for the moment, he says, it’s a case of a lot done, more to do, but good progress so far.

Why OpenStack?

Open source OpenStack, he says, is starting to develop as a serious enterprise operating environment acting as a cardinal point for the evolution of a growing number of different-flavored distributions and editions.

Over the last year, we've been informally talking with customers and partners about their interest in OpenStack. The surprising thing is just how much serious interest has emerged in the last six months or so. It's gone from a small handful of devotees to a much larger crowd of enterprise IT shops and IT service providers who now have the technology on their roadmap in one form or another," he says.

The result is that over time OpenStack-based distributions will become more attractive for more IT organizations even if the individual customer specifics are hard to gauge.

To summarize:

EMC is in the business of making our customers and partners successful. And if they're starting to look at OpenStack-based distros as one of their potential roads forward -- well, we want to be there for them.”

So after all the talking it boils down to business. EMC wants to be there once people start looking at OpenStack deployments. Makes sense.